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Three Weeks to Say Goodbye

C.J. Box turns out a compulsively readable thriller about an adoptive father fighting to keep his baby girl safe.

By Jimmy Orr / January 10, 2009

While I was reading C.J. Box’s new book, Three Weeks to Say Goodbye, the NFL season was entering its final week. This made football analogies just way too easy.

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Without overdoing it, you could liken Box to a general manager for an NFL club. He knows he can assemble an award-winning team of players.

He’s been very successful with his Joe Pickett team (eight novels). These stories about a Wyoming game warden have provided Box with bestseller after bestseller after bestseller and lavish reviews.

So, last year when he introduced a new team to the reading world with the release of “Blue Heaven,” there was worry and skepticism. Why change a good thing?

Was he turning into the literary equivalent of REO Speedwagon?

(At one time, REO was selling out arenas. Then they cheesed out and produced those awful sugary pop ballads in the ’80s instead of sticking to their hard rock “Ridin’ the Storm Out” roots. Had they stayed true, some speculate they would have remained on top of the old school rock world like Aerosmith. Instead, now you can catch them at your local Holiday Inn. Tip your waitresses and try the veal. We’re here all week.)

But thankfully for fans of Box, “Blue Heaven” was an outstanding read and became a runaway hit and, now, a soon-to-be movie.

The better news is that there doesn’t appear to be a sophomore jinx for Box.

He’s changed teams yet again and his latest book, “Three Weeks to Say Goodbye,” is a big-time winner. This book is solid.

But who are we kidding? Do you think Box would put together something like a collection of unicorn haikus? He’s demonstrated that he’s a master storyteller.

And “Three Weeks” doesn’t stray far from the familiar.

As in Box’s other books, the story takes place in the Rocky Mountain West. But unlike the remote mountain town settings of his earlier books, this time Box chooses suburban Denver for the backdrop.

There are brief trips to Montana and his home state of Wyoming in the novel, but for the most part the action takes place in Colorado.

The main character – Jack McGuane – is a good guy.

Happily married to wife Melissa, the only problem they’ve had is not being able to have a family. The problem is solved when they adopt a baby girl named Angelina.

But trouble begins when the deeply deranged birth father, a 17-year-old named Garrett Moreland, wants the child back.

It’s not as if the kid realizes he made a mistake and wants to provide the child a happy and healthy home – not at all.

After meeting Garrett, it becomes obvious that he couldn’t care less about the baby.

In fact, you find out that Garrett couldn’t care less about anything. He’s dead inside. No conscience. No soul. Someone you really, really don’t want to meet.

And now he wants a baby girl?


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